Living in the Pacific Northwest, the weather goes from very dry during the summer to very VERY wet during the winter. And that transition is usually during two weeks we call “Fall”. The leaves change overnight and are on the ground two days later. Then it rains for months.
I’m not one of those people who hates the rain. In fact, I enjoy the rain. I find that I’m actually most productive on a rainy day because I’m more contemplative, and tend to dig in a little deeper to whatever I’m doing. When the sun is out, I want to be out with it, so summer isn’t exactly my best season to get stuff done. But there’s something soul-settling about the first big rain of the winter. The accompanying darkness? That’s a different matter altogether. I hate the 4pm sunset time and needing lights on all day long. But that’s another post.
As soon as the rain begins, my desire to make soup appears out of nowhere. Colds, flus and other seasonal ailments also appear out of nowhere, and there is nothing more nourishing, healing, and comforting to me than soup. So, be prepared. You’re gonna see more than one soup here this winter.
The key to successful chicken soup is keeping the flavors clean, layered, and full of nourishing ingredients. If you can afford an organic, free-range chicken, be sure to get one! If not, you’ll still get tons of great flavor and health benefits, so don’t let it stop you.
I’m also sharing my secret ingredients. But you have to promise not to tell. Here they are: Roasted garlic, fresh lemon, and apple cider vinegar. All of these ingredients provide a big immunity boost and add layers of flavor. The sweet, pungent flavor of the roasted garlic is delightful, and the acidity from the lemon and ACV make the whole soup bright and light on your tongue.
Perfect Chicken Soup
1 whole organic chicken
2 quarts organic, free-range chicken broth
3-4 carrots, chopped
I bunch of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, roasted and crushed
3 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
3 Tbsp ACV
Juice of one large lemon
2-3 quarts of organic chicken stock
Chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
1 zucchini, shredded (optional)
1 pkg brown rice pasta (optional)
1) In a large stockpot, cover whole chicken with water, plus a couple of inches. Add a tablespoon of ACV, the bottom, core, and top leafy part of the celery and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 40-60 minutes until chicken is cooked.
2) Remove chicken from stockpot and allow to cool. Strain cooking liquid, and add chopped veggies and cook until tender.
3) Add pasta and cook until al dente.
4) Debone and shred chicken and add to stock after veggies are cooked.
5) Add lemon juice, ACV and extra chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with cilantro/parsley, zucchini, and serve.